Abraham Welcomes the Three Visitors

12th-13th century
Cathedral of the Assumption, Monreale, Sicily

Genesis 18:1-5. The inscription has a few mistaken and misplaced letters but basically reads abrahaam angelos hospitio suscepit et cum tres vi[disse]t unum adora[v]i[t], "Abraham received the angels hospitably, and when he saw three he worshipped one." The emphasis on three and one is due to a belief that the three visitors represent the Trinity.

As he kneels, Abraham washes the feet of the first visitor (verse 4). The tree in the background is mentioned in the next part, when Abraham stands under it and serves the visitors at table. The building represents his tent, in Latin a tabernaculum.

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Photographed at the cathedral by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.